If parents are lookingfor another reason to reduce stress levels, they can look not only at thebenefits it has on their health, but on the health of their children aswell. A new study from St Michael’sHospital has found that parents under intense stress have children with higherBMI levels than those who take measure to reduce overall stress.
The study found thatchildren of parents who have high levels of stress measured 2 percent higher onthe BMI scale than when compared to their peers who have lower stresslevels. Children in the first group alsogained weight at a 7 percent higher rate during the course of the study thanthe latter group did.
The figures in thisstudy show the importance of not only living a healthy lifestyle, but teachingthis lifestyle to our youth. Children’sbodies are still developing, and added weight and stress can put strain on growingbodies and tissues leading to problems later on – much earlier in life thanwould be expected. Some of thesecomplications can be serious, such as early onset type 2 diabetes, obesity, oreven heart problems.
The author understoodthe stress parents are under to provide financially, nutritionally, and emotionallyfor their children. He recommendschanging stressful behaviors in small steps: reduce the amount of unhealthyfoods in the house and increase access to fresh fruits, veggies, and grains,encourage family activity rather than scheduling lessons and classes forchildren only, and try to establish routines to decrease stress in thehousehold. These steps will not onlyhelp lower stress in the children, but have benefits for the adults as well.
Childhood is a time ofdevelopment when children learn how to deal with stress appropriately, and howto maintain their health and wellness throughout life. Being appropriate role models during thisdevelopmental time can potentially stave off certain diseases that are becoming“epidemics” in society, and create a healthier future for both parents andtheir children.
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